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Tuesday January 4th, Guangdong Science Center

This happened a while back, but due to the winter course and a desire to complete the write up of my New Year trip, I am only now getting to it.

In front of the museum.

On the unknown bus.

Model of our solar system.

This model was enormous and if things worked, you could drive around it using remote controlled cars.

So quite a while ago, I wrote up a little email and sent it to virtually everyone at my school. The gist was that I was going to go to a garden (outdoor) or a museum (indoor) and it really depended on the weather. As it ended up being rainy and cold, the museum won out. I’d been trying to get Susan to go to this for some time but it was supposedly far away and super crowded and . . . .

I was fast but no match for the clock.

Susan tries the obstacle course, nearly breaking her leg!

But we went anyway. We met up with Jennifer at Kecun but due to Katherine we almost missed our own deadline! Seems it is a real challenge to get out the door with a baby at a decent hour these days. I’m ready to go and oh wait we have to feed Katherine! But we made it right at 11:30 I think. We took Line 3 down to the University Town north gate then took a bus to the museum. Sorry, can’t remember the bus number.

This station allowed you to see your body outline by pressing yourself into some sliding pins.

The museum before us was the Guangdong Science Center. Completed a couple of years ago it is billed as the largest science and technology museum in the world. It boasts an IMAX and an outdoor part where you can check out a few things for free. However, we did not see either of these. The price was 60RMB which is pretty steep. Would the exhibits be worth it?

In this exhibit, one can see how to serve your head up on a plate.

At first, I was disappointed. English was a bit hard to find though to be fair, how many museums in the USA have Chinese right at the exhibit? The real problem was that we started in, oh, maybe in the physics exhibit. There were exhibits such as a Foucault pendulum, ball dropping stations, pendulums of all sorts, etc. However, many of these appeared to be broken or missing parts, in many cases, the actual balls. Thus, some things were quite large and looked cool but alas, due to poor English translations of complicated language, and no way to test out whatever it was we were looking at, we never did figure out what many of the demonstrations were about. I was disappointed that the museum didn’t maintain things a bit better.

A shot of the interior of the museum, showing the Asian games gallery.

As we went on though, there were enough interactive exhibits to make it worth the money. The human body section for example pretty much generally all worked, and was easy to figure out anyway. One exhibit involved timing yourself as you ran through an obstacle course. Others involved knocking down puppets when a computer asked you questions about your lifestyle. For every unhealthy answer, some puppets were knocked down (by the machine of course). The objective was to have a lot of puppets left over. We however tried to knock them all down by picking unhealthy answers.

Susan tried out archery.

They had an enormous section on making cars. Now, I’ve been to the Mazda plant in Japan which was much better. This one was ok. In one exhibit, you get into a minivan with no roof. It pulls forward into some sort of movie room and you watch a movie that shows you how a car is made on the assembly line. But the point of view is that you are inside the car while this is being made. Since the movie was in Chinese, we didn’t quite get the whole experience though. Another exhibit had a “crash simulation” you strapped into a seat, and then slid down about 5 feet into a wall. Not much of a jolt. Oh well.

In the Asian games exhibit I tried rock climbing. The boxing exhibit was broken.

The coolest exhibit did not work which was too bad. In this exhibit, you sit in a car mockup with a video screen in front of you. This video screen was attached to a wireless camera on a remote controlled car. You could drive these cars remotely around a huge mockup of Guangzhou. But the cars were either dead or stuck. So didn’t really work. Just as well, I would have played bumper cars with Jenifer anyway.

Susan tries out a wheel chair built for basketball.

Two other exhibits were also in the museum, and I think both were free. One was Einstein’s life. It was pretty well done with good translations. The other was some sort of Asian games deal. You could rock climb, play wheel chair basketball, shoot a bow and arrow and check out some equipment they used in the games.

When the museum first opened, the complaint was that there were huge crowds of people. But now, some 2 years later, the people were gone but the evidence of a large number of people remained in the form of broken or inoperative exhibits. If you get a chance to go, it is worth the money, but just be warned that not everything is working. We all were satisfied with the museum and considered it a worthwhile outing.

The Guangzhou Science Center.


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